Thursday, September 29, 2016

Friday Thinking 30 Sept. 2016

Hello all – Friday Thinking is a humble curation of my foraging in the digital environment. My purpose is to pick interesting pieces, based on my own curiosity (and the curiosity of the many interesting people I follow), about developments in some key domains (work, organization, social-economy, intelligence, domestication of DNA, energy, etc.)  that suggest we are in the midst of a change in the conditions of change - a phase-transition. That tomorrow will be radically unlike yesterday.

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.
In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.
Jobs are dying - work is just beginning.

“Be careful what you ‘insta-google-tweet-face’”
Woody Harrelson - Triple 9


Trump is headed for a win, says professor who has predicted 30 years of presidential outcomes correctly

Why the Creative Common is vital to Creation
Using public domain material freed up the creative side of recording because my responsibility was to arrange and interpret music rather than compose it. I was able to dive deeply into the sonics of the record. This became really important because I was making instrumental versions of songs that contain lyrics and stories that are very familiar to many people. The melodies and chord changes for the songs I chose are simple and repetitious. The major challenge of the record lay in how to make compelling renditions of these simple forms without losing the essential identity of each song.  In other words, how was I to convey the emotional impact of the lyrics without singing, and without significant modification of the melody? I was looking for ways to serve the songs and enrich the melodies when I started working with more diffuse and textural sounds to fill out the emotional palette.

Musician Marisa Anderson looks for the new in the old

Today we are in the early stages of building a new infrastructure for work; think of it as a new operating system for creating value and getting things done. A combination of next-generation networking, distributed computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) is laying the groundwork for this transformation, catalyzing the emergence of a worldwide digital coordination economy. In this economy, algorithms are being deployed to identify and match those in need of something with those who can fulfill their needs, including both human and non-human agents.

The impact of automated production is a big part of this story. We have seen this particularly acutely in manufacturing. …. Automation, however, has increasingly moved from manufacturing to services and knowledge work. Legal analysis is increasingly done by machines, and companies like Narrative Science are building software to automatically convert raw data into stories that are sometimes hard to distinguish from those written by actual journalists.

A second important development, parallel to automation, is the widespread shift toward greater connectivity. As the world becomes more digital, objects, machines, and systems embedded with communication, sensing, and processing power will compete with the human workforce to drive new growth and create new kinds of value.

The implicit potential for using automation to grow prosperity is tremendous. With sufficient demand, automation facilitates the increases in productivity and efficiency that are fundamental to driving economic growth. But it also increases the risk of human dislocation. This is a familiar historical pattern. For example, while the Industrial Revolution greatly increased global prosperity over the long term, it also caused dislocation of rural populations. Design can—and must—make the difference.

While the automation of production and supply has been discussed quite a bit in recent years, the automation of demand may turn out to be an even more important, if much less explored, development. It is possible someday, for example, that self-managing and even self-owning autonomous vehicles may form “corporations” unto themselves. Using “smart” contracts, they may begin to incorporate themselves, seek investors, and pay dividends. If this sounds fantastical, consider that it is estimated that three-fourths of trades on the New York Stock Exchange are now automated, and that a computer recently taught itself to play the game of Go and beat the reigning human champion, something once thought nearly impossible for computers to do. The future is coming fast.

In order for society to thrive in this future, we will need a new design paradigm—a socio-technical framework in which the economic growth and societal benefits of an increasingly coordinated economy can be maximized. Such a paradigm could encompass: the technical design of platforms, regulatory frameworks necessary to both protect against inherent negative externalities and help distribute opportunities on a more equitable basis, efforts to foster the creation of new ecosystems of services, and public policies that support inclusive prosperity. Perhaps most importantly, it tries to create the most human value out of the big technological shifts that are advancing in stride. Let’s take a look at these shifts before we tackle the principles of such a design framework.

The emerging digital coordination economy brings with it the seeds of great economic prosperity. However, large swaths of the population may not reap the benefits of such prosperity unless we embark on a large-scale effort to purposefully and thoughtfully design for it. We need to bring to this endeavor the best of technological expertise, but also the best thinking from disciplines such as economics, political science, governance, and others. The stakes are high and the time to start building the socio-technical infrastructure that will ensure equitable prosperity in the digital coordination economy is now.

Prosperity By Design

This is a very short article by Cory Doctorow a Canadian Sci-Fi writer, journalist-blog and Internet activist. This is a MUST READ not because of the particular company - but because of the capability that would be available to all of us - if incumbents were creating artificial scarcity and impeding innovation and Internet access in order to rent-seek.

I have found a secret tunnel that runs underneath the phone companies and emerges in paradise

Calyx is a famous, heroic, radical ISP that has been involved in groundbreaking litigation -- they were the first company to ever get a secret Patriot Act warrant unsealed, fighting for 11 years to overturn the gag order…..

…  For $500, Calyx will send you a little wifi hotspot with a Sprint SIM in it that comes with a year's worth unlimited, anonymous, unshaped, unfiltered 4G/LTE bandwidth on Sprint's network. Unlimited as in, I downloaded 60GB with mine and it didn't break a sweat.

Subsequent years are $400 (because you don't get another wifi gadget, just the service).

I've used mine in New York, Washington DC, New Orleans, Reno, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kansas City, Boston, and Woods Hole, MA. I've had it for a couple months, and I find it lasts for 2-3 days on a single charge. I love being able to just open my laptop and go, without having to login to a hotel or airport wifi's bullshit authentication screen, and I've saved a ton on my phone's bandwidth charges by using the hotspot for network access on it.

I can't remember the last time I was this excited about network access. Every time I download a big file in the back of a cab, or while my flight is stuck on the tarmac, or when the hotel internet is saturated, I feel this delightful frisson like I'm getting away with something.

This is another Cory Doctorow piece - a podcast that clearly explains just how dangerous Digital Rights Management legislation is for us in the emerging digital environment.

Podcast: How we'll kill all the DRM in the world, forever

A couple things changed in the last decade. The first is that the kinds of technologies that have access controls for copyrighted works have gone from these narrow slices (consoles and DVD players) to everything (the car in your driveway). If it has an operating system or a networking stack, it has a copyrighted work in it. Software is copyrightable, and everything has software. Therefore, manufacturers can invoke the DMCA to defend anything they’ve stuck a thin scrim of DRM around, and that defense includes the ability to prevent people from making parts. All they need to do is add a little integrity check, like the ones that have been in printers for forever, that asks, "Is this part an original manufacturer's part, or is it a third-party part?" Original manufacturer's parts get used; third-party parts get refused. Because that check restricts access to a copyrighted work, bypassing it is potentially a felony. Car manufacturers use it to lock you into buying original parts.

This is a live issue in a lot of domains. It's in insulin pumps, it's in voting machines, it's in tractors. John Deere locks up the farm data that you generate when you drive your tractor around. If you want to use that data to find out about your soil density and automate your seed broadcasting, you have to buy that data back from John Deere in a bundle with seed from big agribusiness consortia like Monsanto, who license the data from Deere. This metastatic growth is another big change. It's become really urgent to act now because, in addition to this consumer rights dimension, your ability to add things to your device, take it for independent service, add features, and reconfigure it are all subject to approval from manufacturers.

Here’s an initiative that would support the invalidation of DRM not only to enable us to control our own technology - but also to enable us to repair that technology - including farmers, professionals, consumers and do-it-yourselfers.
"If we want to solve the problems of sustainability and the environment we have to work on consumption," Sweden’s finance and consumption minister Per Bolund told The Local. "One area we are really looking at is so-called ‘nudging.’ That means, through various methods, making it easier for people to do the right thing." Nudging might involve clearer signage to reach the recycling station, for example.

Sweden Wants To Fight Our Disposable Culture With Tax Breaks For Repairing Old Stuff

A proposed new law takes aim at wasteful consumerism.
How often have you taken a gadget or a pair of shoes in for repair and found out that fixing it will cost more than buying a new version? Too often, that’s how often. And Sweden is trying to fix this, by halving the tax paid on repairs and increasing taxes on unrepairable items.

The new proposals come from the ruling coalition of the Social Democrat and Green parties, and, if successfully enacted, would be accompanied by a publicity campaign to encourage Swedes to repair products instead of replacing them.

The proposed legislation would cut regular tax on repairs of bikes, clothes, and shoes from 25% to 12%. Swedes would also be able to claim half the labor cost of appliance repairs (refrigerators, washing machines and other white goods) from their income tax. Together, these tax cuts are expected to cost the country around $54 million per year. This will be more than paid for by the estimated $233 million brought in by a new "chemical tax," which would tax the resources that go into making new goods and computers.

This is a fascinating longish article - worth the consideration since marketers at least allude to a deep knowledge of consumer culture - having to understand the myths and narratives that move us.
That said marketers are increasingly suffering from hysteria - the digital environment is disrupting all manner of traditional business models and incumbents are struggling to find ways to sustain their mass production, mass-marketing past - how can marketers continue to manufacture consumers that will demand what can be marketed.
On the other hand this hysteria is being used to rationalize ever more intrusive uses of Big Data, choice architectures and nudging-gamification methodologies. And most importantly they are vying to assert ever stronger intellectual property regimes to enact an enclosure of both platform users, consumers and content to prevent the rise of self-governing creative commons to sustain and expand the ‘privately owned mall’ in the digital environment
Digital video. Social media. Native advertising. Programmatic. In-app advertising. Messenger advertising. These are just a few examples that were not meaningfully present in the modern marketing repertoire just a few years ago. Today’s marketer has more options to reach her target audience than ever before. And yet, it has never been more difficult to earn the attention and engagement of that user. We call this conundrum the marketer’s dilemma.
Consumers also are becoming less willing to pay attention to traditional advertising messages. A recent Harvard Business School study showed that the percentage of ads getting high attention has decreased dramatically, from 97 percent in the early 1990s to less than 20 percent today.
As marketers seek to develop a rich understanding of who their customers are, how they behave, and what they want and need, big data has emerged as a powerful enabling capability. Indeed, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Winterberry Group call out “cross-device audience recognition” and “sophisticated analytics to target audience members” as the top two areas commanding marketers’ attention in 2016.

The marketer's dilemma: The new capability agenda for marketers and their partners

Executive summary
The media and marketing ecosystem is being reconfigured and transformed by digital developments. Brands find themselves operating in a quickly evolving environment in which new combinations of technology, experiences, and content are rapidly replacing traditional advertising. These developments are creating a major dilemma for the leading marketers, which control more than US$500 billion in advertising budgets. In a world of proliferating choice and supply, where do marketers focus time and resources so they can engage target users most effectively and efficiently? Many marketers are actively formulating answers to this question. They know they need different skills and ways of working to catch up to changes in users’ media consumption. They also know they need new partnerships to design the content and distribution methods required to engage them. Given these developments, marketers’ chief interlocutors — media (publishers) and marketing service providers (agencies) — will have to evolve substantially to remain relevant. Media companies need to create new advertising products, rethink their content distribution strategies as social media and mobile grow in significance, and use data to slice and dice their audiences in ways that deliver more targeting value for their customers. Finally, marketing service players must shift to focus more on content and intellectual property development, evolve from a services supplier to a strategic business advisor, and accelerate marketers’ ability to move from experimentation to scale across as much of their customers’ marketing and media mix as is feasible.

... agencies should move from a services-based model toward one that rests on proprietary content and intellectual property. That is to say, they should move toward being either more of a studio or a data mart. Both paths require new capabilities to be built in partner business development, and development and production resources, as well as the monetization and what we call the “productization” of IP.

Agencies can invest in content via IP ownership or licensing. They could aggregate their own creators, redefine “creative” into “content,” and monetize proprietary IP. Alternatively, agencies can move into the studio business — building a studio for consumers, for brands, and as a service for creators, à la Maker Studios. As a “minimum viable strategy,” agencies should look to build critical relationships with key makers and creators. If financial resources permit, they could make acquisitions or investments in talent firms with existing relationships or create shows and bring advertisers into them.

This is an interesting development - how to domesticate or tame the blockchain or the distributed ledger technology in order to sustain incumbent centralized power structures.
Blockchain technology, which is best known for powering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is gaining steam among finance firms because of its potential to streamline processes and increase efficiency. The technology could cut costs by up to $20 billion annually by 2022, according to Santander.
That's because blockchain, which operates as a distributed ledger, has the ability to allow multiple parties to transfer and store sensitive information in a space that’s secure, permanent, anonymous, and easily accessible. That could simplify paper-heavy, expensive, or logistically complicated financial systems, like remittances and cross-border transfer, shareholder management and ownership exchange, and securities trading, to name a few. And outside of finance, governments and the music industry are investigating the technology’s potential to simplify record-keeping.

Accenture files patent for editable blockchain

The consultancy giant has caused upset in the fintech community by filing a patent for an editable blockchain feature that allows a central administrator to edit or delete information stored in a permissioned blockchain system, the Financial Times reports. A permissioned system is governed by a central administrator using agreed upon rules. This differs from permissionless systems, like those used by blockchain pioneers such as Bitcoin, which have no central authority. A key feature of permissionless systems is that the records they contain cannot be changed. Accenture unveiled a prototype of the blockchain on Tuesday developed jointly by Accenture and Giuseppe Anteniese, a Stevens Institute of Technology professor.

The prototype aims to make blockchain more practical for use in financial services. Accenture's head of financial services said that the prototype will make blockchain more attractive to financial services providers and regulators, and encourage their uptake of blockchain technology. This is because these parties "need a means to quickly correct errors on the blockchain," which is not possible when using a blockchain-based system that creates immutable ledgers. It is only possible to reverse an entry on such a system, and that can be time-consuming. Fast corrections would be especially critical were blockchain to be used in the securities industry, where trades are conducted at high speed, but where errors, such as assigning a trade to the wrong counterparty could have serious financial consequences.

But it goes against one of blockchain technology's key principals — immutability. The move is controversial to many because blockchain was conceived as an immutable, tamper-proof ledger, which eliminated the need for a centralized authority. However, Accenture insists that immutability is not necessary in permissioned systems because everything is overseen by a single governing authority. We think the success of Accenture's feature will depend on whether or not financial services firms intend to use blockchain for use cases that require flexibility.

The speed of evolving mobile and wearable technology - it is entirely plausible that by 2020 everyone on earth will have a smartphone as a ‘swiss army knife’ of capabilities and as an Internet platform - this however, shows it will be a lot more.

Chinese visual tech company launches world's first 3D+VR handset

Shenzhen-based technology company SuperD Technology recently hosted a conference in Beijing, announcing the launch of the world's first full display handset -- a smartphone that integrates 2D, 3D and virtual reality (VR) content display in one piece.

Dubbed the SuperD D1, the phone is recognized as the first of its kind to deploy the concept of a full display mobile phone that can seamlessly switch between 2D, 3D and VR modes.

According to the company, the innovation in creating the solution took place when the Super DVR motion-sensing vision chip was added to the preconfigured GPU of a traditional cellphone, which enhanced the rendering speed of the 3D and VR images through the integration of the 3D/VR algorithm. It resolved the issue of the slow calculation that takes place when reproducing complex images, reduced image latency to a minimum and allowed the creation of corresponding body sensation, resulting in clear and precise images.

Moreover, the technology in the SuperD D1 camera goes beyond the rear dual camera technology applied to traditional smartphones, deploying a front dual camera, with one of the cameras recording the images and the other tracking the exact position of the user's eyes. It allows customization and the simultaneous generation of visual images based on the precise position of the eyes, as well as the interpupillary distance (IPD, or precise distance between the centers of the user's two pupils).

This is another signal of the change in energy paradigm.
The company is testing the trains throughout the next year, and plans to start carrying passengers in Germany in late 2017 or early 2018.

Germany Just Unveiled a Hydrogen-Powered Passenger Train

Its only emissions are steam and condensed water.
The world’s first CO2-emission-free train powered through hydrogen was unveiled this week in Germany. The Coradia iLint, created by French company Alstom, was presented at the Berlin InnoTrans trade show on Tuesday.

The train’s energy comes from combining hydrogen stored in tanks on the train with oxygen in the air. The energy is then stored in lithium-ion batteries.
The train’s only emissions are steam and condensed water.

The train also has lower noise levels than diesel trains, emitting only the sound of its wheels on the track and any sounds from air resistance at even its highest speed of 140 kilometers per hour (about 87 miles per hour).

The train has the ability to travel up to 800 kilometers (497 miles) and carry up to 300 passengers; it’s the world’s first hydrogen passenger train that can regularly operate long journeys.

This picture with this article is really a must see - bring the world up-to-date with 1950s futuristic visions of the future of transportation. The title suffers a bit of hyperbole in that is should be the first motorized boat - human have a very long history of marine transportation that is green.
"Hydrogen is not a fuel but a way of storing energy, Instead of batteries, we fill high-pressure hydrogen tanks and the hydrogen can power our fuel cell and generate electricity."

World's First Boat Powered by 100% Renewables to Circle Globe

The €4.2m ($4.72 million) vessel—nicknamed the "Solar Impulse of the Seas"—aims to circumnavigate the globe using only clean power, a feat similar to Solar Impulse 2's historic, solar-powered flight around the world that was completed this past July.

The boat will sail for six years around the world as a floating exhibition and clean energy laboratory, with stops in 50 countries and 101 ports of call.

The multi-hulled catamaran, a former racing vessel that won the 1994 Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the world, stands at 30 meters in length and 12.80 meters in width. Its green upgrade is currently in full swing at a shipyard in Saint Malo, France where it awaits installation of 130 square meters of solar panels, two vertical axis wind turbines, two reversible electric motors and electrolysis equipment—all to help produce and store hydrogen onboard.

This is some good news - things can change for the better.
“We can see that the acid pollution in the atmosphere from industry has fallen dramatically since manmade acid pollution took off in the 1930s and peaked in the 1960s and 70s. In the 1970s, both Europe and the United States adopted the ‘The clean air act amendments’, which required filters in factories, thus reducing acid emissions and this is what we can now see the results of. The pollution of acid in the atmosphere is now almost down to the level it was before the pollution really took off in the 1930s, explains Helle Astrid Kjær.

Acidity in atmosphere minimised to preindustrial levels

New research shows that human pollution of the atmosphere with acid is now almost back to the level that it was before the pollution started with industrialisation in the 1930s. The results come from studies of the Greenland ice sheet and are published in the scientific journal, Environmental Science and Technology.

The Greenland ice sheet is a unique archive of the climate and atmospheric composition far back in time. The ice sheet is made up of snow that falls and never melts, but rather remains year after year and is gradually compressed into ice. By drilling ice cores down through the kilometre-thick ice sheet, the researchers can analyse every single annual layer, which can tell us about past climate change and concentration of greenhouse gases and pollutants in the atmosphere.  

Here’s another marine development pushing the frontier of autonomous drones.
... it doesn't need to be launched and retrieved by a surface support vessel. This means it could depart from and return to shore-based facilities, saving the cost of crewing and operating an accompanying ship. If required, it can automatically rise to the surface at regular intervals, where it will raise a folding antenna to transmit data to its users.

Boeing unveils game-changing autonomous submarine

When you hear the name "Boeing," chances are you think of aircraft. The fact is, however, the company has also been developing underwater vehicles since the 1960s. Its latest such creation, the Echo Voyager, is designed to operate autonomously for months at a time.

The 51-foot (15.5-m)-long Voyager joins two other Boeing unmanned undersea vehicles, or UUVs: the 32-ft (9.8-m) Echo Seeker and the 18-ft (5.5-m) Echo Ranger.

Like them, it's designed to autonomously gather data underwater for scientific, military or other purposes. Unlike them, though, it's not limited to missions lasting no longer than two to three days. Instead, thanks to what's simply described as a "hybrid rechargeable power system," it can keep going for months if necessary.

This is more important than it may seem - being able to more fully automate the garment industry - is another step toward mass-customization at near zero-marginal cost. Not to mention transforming another industry’s employment history.

Sewbo Robot: A Sewing Robot Can Sew T-Shirt

Currently, textile industries use specialist machines for clothing manufacture. They sew small sections of garments, weave fabrics and cut material into the right shape. But until now, no machine was able to assemble a clothing item in its entirety. So, Seattle-based web developer Jonathan Zornow have created a sewing robot. This robot is also known as sewbo robot. This sewbo robot can sew together a complete item of clothing. It is also able to use a sewing machine and chemically stiffened pieces of material to create basic clothes. For example, T-shirts.

This sewbo robot is designed to create higher quality material in cheap cost.
Sewbo is consist of Universal Robot arm, a traditional sewing machine, and the reusable thermoplastic solution. It has an ultrasonic welder that sew two panels of material together with a hard texture. A water soluble chemical gives hard texture to clothing. Once the t-shirt put together all the robot needs to do is drop it into some hot water and it loosens up.

After that, Sewbo picks them up as one item and feed it into an industrial sewing machine. Means, it is similar to other industrial robots that work with materials like sheet metal.

McLuhan has noted that a true artist creates 'anti-environment' in order to reveal the generally invisible environment. For example an true artist fish - would create art the presents 'anti-water' in order for the culture of fish to grasp the nature of water - that is inherently an invisible assumption. This is a fascinating 55 min presentation - well worth the view for anyone wanting to explore the way art and science mirror change in human thinking and culture. The text below the video gives a brief and interesting biography of Dr. Shlain.
Making the assumptions inherent in our deeply held - perhaps almost mythic, values if truly a wicked problem.

"Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light" Lecture by Dr. Leonard Shlain

Zeitgeist - Art Gender and Physics
Leonard Shlain proposes that the visionary artist is the first member of a culture to see the world in a new way. Then, nearly simultaneously, a revolutionary physicist discovers a new way to think about the world. Escorting the reader through the classical, medieval, Renaissance and modern eras, Shlain shows how the artists' images when superimposed on the physicists' concepts create a compelling fit.

Throughout, Shlain juxtaposes the specific art works of famous artists alongside the world-changing ideas of great thinkers. Giotto and Galileo, da Vinci and Newton, Picasso and Einstein, Duchamp and Bohr, Matisse and Heisenberg, and Monet and Minkowski are just a few of the provocative pairings.
For those who found this interesting - Shlain’s website has four other videos here

One of my favorite new science fiction writers is Hannu Rajaniemi who’s trilogy ‘The Quantum Thief’. If William Gibson’s ‘Neuromancer’ (published in 1984) made the genre of ‘cyberpunk’ famous before the web was even born, and then Neil Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash’ (published in 1992 just as the web was born) updated it - then ‘The Quantum Thief’ brings it into the future of quantum physics and entanglement. I highly recommend his trilogy - but be warned - it takes at least half way through the first book to begin to comprehend what’s really going on.
Hannu has also published a book of short stories ‘Collected Fiction’ - wonderful stories, with beautiful writing and concepts. One of the last stories - ‘Snow White’,  is well worth more investigation - he introduces the story - to explain the science he conducted with a mathematician. This is very exciting - especially as the capabilities of Virtual and Mixed Reality begin to mature and spread. This is a must read for anyone interested in the cutting edge of science, technology and art - his research was conducted with current off-the-shelf gaming hardware.


What if a book could read you?
Neurofiction is a new kind of literary experience, created with the support of New Media Scotland. Neurofiction combines:
  • off-the-shelf hardware
  • machine learning
  • and customised prose.
Together, these enable stories that change themselves in response to the reader's brain activity.

Each reader, each act of reading, is unique: books speak to our individual memories, associations and experiences. Reading is a two-way process, a delicate tango between the reading brain and the text.

In neurofiction, the story’s effect on the reader’s brain – electrical activity of their neurons – is captured using an electroencephalography headset. Using an algorithm that learns what themes and elements engage each reader, our neurofiction engine turns this data into a unique path through the story. The reader can be guided to one of multiple possible endings or allowed to explore a new region of the story space.

Note that neurofiction is not interactive fiction: the reader experiences the story as linear, calm and immersive, as if reading a book. But by opening themselves to be read, neurofiction readers become subconscious collaborators in the creation of a new narrative.

Our first fully realised neurofiction piece is Snow White is Dead, recently showcased at the Edinburgh Science Festival, with soundtrack by Carina Namih. It is a modern retelling of the classic fairy tale that leaves the fate of the raven-haired princess in the hands - or the brain - of the reader. Is the apple green or red? Is Snow White alive or dead?

We have open-sourced the software behind neurofiction to encourage innovation. Our neurofiction engine plugs in to emokit, and has a Scala story module that will eventually make it easy for neurofiction developers and authors to tell their stories.

This is a MUST LISTEN - 4 min video the title says it all

Mr Shadow: a song composed by Artificial Intelligence

Scientists at SONY CSL Research Laboratory have created the first-ever entire songs composed by Artificial Intelligence: "Daddy's Car" and "Mister Shadow".

The researchers have developed FlowMachines, a system that learns music styles from a huge database of songs. Exploiting unique combinations of style transfer, optimization and interaction techniques, FlowMachines composes novel songs in many styles.

"Mister Shadow" is composed in the style of American songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Cole Porter. French composer Benoît Carré arranged and produced the songs, and wrote the lyrics.

The two songs are excerpts of albums composed by Artificial Intelligence to be released in 2017.

And in the same artery here’s a 3 min teaser trailer featuring David Brin (who’s book Transparent Society is still the best discussion of freedom & privacy in the digital environment that I’ve ever read). The trailer concerns the next stage of human evolution - evolution that is driven by choice.

Neo - Official Teaser Trailer

For Fun
For anyone who hasn’t heard of the IgNobel prizes - this is worth the read.

Meet the Winners of This Year's Ig Nobel Prizes

Rats in tiny trousers, pseudoscientific bullshit, the personalities of rocks, and Volkswagen’s, shall we say, “creative” approach to emissions testing were among the research topics honored by the 2016 Ig Nobel Prizes. The winners were announced last night at a live webcast ceremony held at Harvard University.

For those unfamiliar with the Ig Nobel Prizes, it’s an annual celebration of silly science. Or a silly celebration of seemingly dubious science, courtesy of the satirical journal Annals of Improbable Research. The main objective is to honor research that first makes you laugh, and then makes you think. It’s all in good fun, and the honorees frequently travel to the ceremony on their own dime to accept their awards.

I generally try to keep Friday Thinking away from overt politics - but this is an interesting piece and the 13 keys developed Professor Allan Lichtman are interesting. The 5 min video is entertaining as well - we are definitely in wild card country (pun intended).

Trump is headed for a win, says professor who has predicted 30 years of presidential outcomes correctly

Nobody knows for certain who will win on Nov. 8 — but one man is pretty sure: Professor Allan Lichtman, who has correctly predicted every presidential election since 1984.

When we sat down in May, he explained how he comes to a decision. Lichtman's prediction isn't based on horse-race polls, shifting demographics or his own political opinions. Rather, he uses a system of true/false statements he calls the "Keys to the White House" to determine his predicted winner.
And this year, he says, Donald Trump is the favorite to win.

The keys are 13 true/false questions, where an answer of "true" always favors the reelection of the party holding the White House, in this case the Democrats. And the keys are phrased to reflect the basic theory that elections are primarily judgments on the performance of the party holding the White House. And if six or more of the 13 keys are false — that is, they go against the party in power — they lose. If fewer than six are false, the party in power gets four more years.